Thursday, May 15, 2014


Animinimalianism: the practice of minimizing, although not abstaining from, the consumption of meat – red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal – by favoring a small part of a large animal over a large part of a small animal, out of respect for the equal worthiness of all sentient life.

a teaching moment from a sad plate o’ shrimp

My transcending moment of dietary enlightenment struck while I was staring down a surprisingly large plate of surprisingly small shrimp. “There must be two hundred shrimp there,” I thought. “Two hundred shrimp have given their lives for this meal.” I suddenly felt very sad.

I was about to discover animinimalianism.

the path from omnivore, to vegetarian, to pescetarian

Eating meat is kind of disturbing, if you stop to think about it. I did not stop to think about it for the first 20 years of my life. I just ate in ignorant bliss. Nom nom nom nom nom.

Then I did think about it, and I came to the realization that meat was murder, pain, suffering, and so on. I became a vegetarian.

As a vegetarian, my conscience felt better, but after a few years I realized that my body did not “feel better”. I simply felt better when I ate some animal protein and animal fat.

So I tried pescetarianism, where I wouldn’t eat fish except for fish. And later on I added some chicken because of the whole “it doesn’t have a face” thing.

egotistical dietary ethics

But staring at that plate of shrimpimagining little shrimp faces on those little shrimp bodiesit struck me as ridiculous to base the value, joy, and pain of a life or death on how much a creature’s face happens to look like mine, or whether it happens to lactate like my species, or how far away it is on the evolutionary tree. To think that I could say which life was more recipe-worthy than another seemed, if not racist, at least speciesist, or phylumist, or something-ist.

As the great philosopher, Horton the Elephant, once nearly said, “a life is a life, no matter how small.”

If you’re going to be a vegetarian and eat no meat, then good on you. But if you are going to accept that you’re an omnivore, don’t be so egotistic as to believe that an animal’s worthiness depends on how close it is to you in appearance or sentience.


So here’s my new thing: I’m not ready to eat no meat at all, but I do want to minimize the number of lives sacrificed to feed me. So I have become an animinimalian (from the root words “animal” and “minimal”): a practicer of animinimalianism.

As an animinimalian I try to minimize the number of animals that die to make my meal. That plate of shrimp, for example, sacrificed two hundred lives; a trout might be 1 life; but a quarter pounder takes only about 1/6000th of a cow’s life; so I order the quarter pounder.

A chicken plate might take 1/4th of  a life; but a blue-whale patty kills only 1/400,000th of a blue whale; so go with the whale. (Another reason to eat blue whales: they feed on krill, millions of them daily, and so blue whales are terrible animinimalians and so just might deserve to be eaten.)

final ethical dietary warning

I realize that while the above rationale for everyone practicing animinimalianism makes 100% absolute perfect rational logical sense, there are some blasphemers who might twist this logic into saying that it’s OK to eat people.

Let me make this clear: It is NOT OK to eat people. Not even fat people. Cannibaminimalianism is NOT OK!!!

Bon appétit.

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